Dog Eating Feces? Stop Dog from Eating Poop
with Coprophagia Treatments

A dog eating feces can be quite repulsive from a dog owner's perspective, especially when Rover decides to come by and deliver a few kisses right after consuming the delicacy. But as much as this behavior leads to disgusting reactions from humans, the act of eating feces is not typically an abnormal behavior among canines.

Indeed, there are a variety of factors motivating dogs to engage in such behavior and some are even linked to survival.

However, there are also many health implications to keep in mind; therefore, this behavior should be discouraged as much as possible.

Understanding Dog Eating Feces Behaviors

As mentioned, coprophagia, the technical term for stool eating, is not an uncommon behavior in the canine world. For example, a mother dog will ingest the puppy's feces to prevent unhygienic conditions which could potentially lead to disease.

As the puppies grow, they will also go through a normal oral stage where they will experiment eating just about anything, including feces. Dog eating feces behaviors, however, may continue as the dog matures and can affect dogs of any age.

As opportunistic beings and scavengers, canines may engage in stool eating behaviors when the right opportunity arises. This behavior over time can become difficult to eradicate because it can be highly self-rewarding.

Feces ingested by poop-eating dogs do not have to necessarily be of dogs; indeed, many dogs find cat, horse, cow, chicken, rabbit and goat feces quite appealing as well.

The Typical Stool Eating Candidate

Some dogs may be more predisposed to stool eating than others. For instance, dogs affected by certain medical conditions may resort to stool eating as a result. A dog with digestive problems such as malabsorption, for example, may find the stools appealing because they are only partly digested. For this reason, it is important to have a dog eating feces see a vet to rule out any medical problems.

In some dogs stool eating habits develop as a result of boredom, anxiety or frustration. If a puppy is often punished for soiling in the home, the puppy may decide to ingest the stools because they have been associated with the owner's anger.

Some dogs may occasionally eat stools if they are appealing enough; for instance, some dogs are particularly attracted to frozen stools or stools of cats which are quite rich in protein.

Health Implications of Eating Feces

Concerned about dog eating feces? There are several health risks dogs are exposed to when eating feces. Feces are notorious for containing the eggs of several intestinal parasites and other potentially harmful bacteria.

Humans may also be exposed indirectly to such bacteria upon getting in contact with the saliva of a dog that has just eaten feces. Good hand-washing habits are a must for owners of dogs affected by coprophagia.

Dogs engaging in this distasteful habit, on the other hand, should undergo frequent fecal examinations to rule out the presence of harmful parasites and bacteria.

How to Stop Dog From Eating Feces

Do you have a dog eating feces? Regardless of the cause, you will certainly want to put a stop to such behavior. There are several methods to accomplish this.

One of the most effective is management. This means limiting your dog's exposure to feces by picking them up often and engaging in closer supervision. If a dog raids the cat's litter box, good management would suggest using a covered litter box or preventing access to it with barriers and baby gates.

Other management techniques include teaching the dog the ''leave it'' command, preventing boredom in under stimulated dogs and keeping the dog on a leash when taken out to potty. If you have one of the larger breeds, consider getting a wire muzzle for your dog. He will be able to do everything but eat and bite with his muzzle on.

You can also try this exercise...

When you walk past some feces, slow down. If your dog shows interest, in a firm voice, say "NO". If that's not enough, jerk the leash and repeat "NO". If your dog stops, praise him. Eventually, he will learn that you don't approve of his eating habits! 

Lifestyle enrichment, including keeping the dog exercised and engaging him in daily activities such as fetching, chasing or agility training may also work to stop dogs from eating poop, by taking the mind off stool eating and reducing its frequency.

Dog Coprophagia Treatments

When stool eating is caused by medical conditions, the underlying condition needs to be addressed so to reduce the stool-eating behavior. When the cause of coprophagia is determined not to be medical, veterinarians may suggest a variety of treatment options.

A common way to stop dog from eating poop is to introduce something to his diet that causes the stools to taste bad. No, I am not joking! Products such as "Deter" and FOR-BID, icon when added to the dog's food, will impart a forbidding taste to the stool after being digested.

Some veterinarians also recommend adding pineapple to food, which should accomplish the same results. Some owners have also found that pouring Tabasco or a sprinkle of pepper flakes on feces will also deter dogs from engaging in the dog eating feces behavior. But before you introduce these ingredients to your dog's diet, discuss them with your vet.

While there are different dog coprophagia treatments for dogs, generally a whole program including a variety of different strategies and approaches works best.

Here is a brief video that talks about some of the things we just covered in this article...

Final Thoughts...

As seen, the behavior of dog eating feces may be caused by a variety of factors. Pinpointing the ultimate cause and using different approaches may be helpful in treating and preventing the dog eating poop problem from relapsing.

Because eating stools can have deleterious implications on the dog's overall health, it is highly recommended to address the dog eating feces behavior quickly before it puts roots and becomes a bad habit.

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Want to learn more?

Puppy Training

The Secrets to Dog Training guide offers additional suggestions for putting an end to dog eating feces behavior.


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